Tuesday, September 28, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Leslie of Lethally Delicious. She picked the Tarte Fine. What is a Tarte Fine? Well, it’s puff pastry topped with apples. I thought that it might be a sleek chocolate tart, but I was pleasantly surprised that it was an apple tart. I love baking with apples, which I will have lots of chances with the upcoming Tuesday with Dorie recipes. Yay! You can get the recipe for this tart on Leslie’s blog and you can also check out how the other Tuesdays with Dorie bakers did this week. I think a couple of adventurous souls even made their own puff pastry!
Dorie gives two options for this tart, a traditional option and the sweeter option. I asked my husband which version I should make and he said “Why wouldn’t you make the sweet version?” Ok then! The sweet version has more butter and a bit more sugar. I used the puff pastry that you can get at any grocery store instead of splurging for the fancy stuff, and it turned out just fine. The extra melted butter that was drizzled over the top of the apples before baking basically just ran all over the baking pan and got burnt on the sheet. Note to self: use less butter next time. Shocking!
I’ve not had good luck with this brand of puff pastry before, but I let the pastry thaw for a really long time and that seemed to be the trick. It puffed up really nicely. We ate this quite warm from the oven and it was so good. Simple but good. It’s not quite like apple pie, but the sweet baked apples are sure good. I liked the sweeter version but I’m sure the traditional version is great too. The sweeter tart stood on its own, but the traditional one would pair will with ice cream or even custard. This was a great start to all the upcoming apple recipes for Tuesdays with Dorie. October, here I come!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 315.
Monday, September 27, 2010
I’ve mentioned before that I take dance class and I love this part of my life. I started dancing as an adult, which is a pretty scary thing to do. I danced for about 6 years at one studio, took a couple of years off and I’ve been at my current studio about 4 years now. Time flies because I have such a good time there. I dance with adults, with maybe the occasional teenager thrown in, and they are a great group of ladies. My teacher is great too, just enough technique in class but a whole lot of fun. My last studio was much more formal, which I like, but there were a lot more teens there. It’s hard to keep up with teens sometimes!
My dance teacher’s birthday is today and at our last class we decided to surprise her with a cake and flowers. I volunteered to make the cake. I’ve brought my dance teacher cookies and she loves my baking, so I was really happy to be able to make her birthday cake. My teacher loves coffee, and is a great patron of the Starbucks that’s across the street from the studio. I figured a Tiramisu cake, with espresso and Kahlua flavors would be perfect. I love Bundt cakes: they travel well and serve a lot of people.
I’ve had this cake bookmarked since last November and I was so happy to make it. It was easy to put together (although I had to run to the store to get eggs in the middle of it since my eggs were past their date). I used instant espresso powder to make the espresso and in the icing I just used a tablespoon of Kahlua and then milk to make ¼ cup. I knew there might be young ones at the party so I didn’t want this to be too boozy. This cake was great and was a bit hit at the party! It didn’t look at all like the photo on the Baking Bites website, but no worries. The Kahlua and coffee flavors shine through and the cake was wonderfully moist. This was a great recipe and I’m glad I tried it after such a long wait.
3 cups flour
2 teaspoons baking soda
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter, room temperature
1 1/2 cups sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
1 1/2 cups milk
1/4 cup espresso
1/4 cup Kahlua
1/4 cup butter, room temperature
4 ounces cream cheese, room temperature
1/4 cup Kahlua
2 cups confectioners’ sugar
Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Grease and flour a 12-cup Bundt pan.
In a small bowl, combine the flour, baking soda, baking power and salt. In a large mixer bowl, cream together butter and sugar until light. Beat in the eggs one at a time, followed by the vanilla extract. Add the flour mixture alternatively with the milk, beginning and ending with an addition of flour, and mixing just until everything is incorporated.
Remove 1 cup of the batter and place in a small bowl, add the espresso to this and whisk to combine. Remove another 1 cup of batter into a second small bowl; add the Kahlua to that bowl and whisk to combine.
Pour half of the plain batter into the Bundt pan and spread into an even layer. Pour the Kahlua batter into an even layer on top of the plain batter. Pour espresso batter on top of Kahlua batter. These batters maybe slightly thinner, but do not mix or stir them. Carefully spread all remaining plan batter into the Bundt pan.
Bake for 55-60 minutes, until a toothpick inserted into the center comes out clean. Let cake cool in pan for 15-20 minutes, then turn cake out onto a wire rack to cool completely before frosting.
To make the icing, combine all ingredients in a large mixer bowl and beat at medium-high speed until very smooth and fluffy. Drizzle the icing over the cooled Bundt cake.
Recipe from Baking Bites
Friday, September 24, 2010
You know, I keep a very well stocked kitchen. I have what seems like a drawer full of different chocolate chips. You never know when you might need those cinnamon chips or white chocolate chips. I always have regular semi-sweet chocolate chips; I buy the gigantic bag at Costco. It does seem that whatever chip I do need for a specific recipe I don’t have on hand. How does that happen?
Today I decided that I was going to try and use up some of the chips that I had. Years ago I used to buy chocolate raspberry chips made by Hershey’s. They were awesome. And just my luck, the company discontinued them. I hate when I love something that becomes unavailable. At some time I picked up Hershey’s Dark Chocolate filled with Raspberry Baking Chunks. I knew they wouldn’t work quite the same way as the other chips that I loved, but it was worth a shot.
I ended up making the cookie recipe that is on the back of the package, mainly because these had been in my cupboard for who knows how long and I’d never used them up. It’s basically a butter cookie recipe with cocoa powder and the chocolate chunks. The dough was super light and fluffy, which I hadn’t expected. They baked up really well, weren’t too flat, and didn’t spread. I liked these cookies, but they chunks are a bit too artificially flavored. That was one thing that I loved about those chocolate raspberry chips, they didn’t have that fake flavor. I’m glad I gave these a try; now I have space so I can buy more different chips!
6 tablespoons butter, softened
1/3 cup shortening
½ cup brown sugar
1/3 cup sugar
1-1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 cup flour
1/3 cup cocoa powder
½ teaspoon baking soda
½ teaspoon salt
8 oz. raspberry filled chocolate chunks
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, combine the butter and shortening and beat until smooth. Add sugars and stir until combined. Add egg and vanilla and beat until well blended.
In a separate bowl, combine flour, cocoa powder, baking soda and salt. Gradually beat into egg mixture. Stir in the chocolate chunks by hand.
Drop by teaspoonfuls on the prepared cookie sheets. Bake for 10-12 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheet before removing to a wire rack to cool completely.
Recipe from Hershey’s
Tuesday, September 21, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Rhiani of Chocoholic Anonymous. She picked the Coffee-Break Muffins. I don’t know why I don’t explore this section of the cookbook more, since there are some great recipes there! You can get the recipe for these muffins on Rhiani’s blog and you can also check out how the other TWD bakers executed this recipe.
In the Q&A forum for this recipe, many bakers said that they wanted to add something to these: nuts, dark chocolate, a topping of some sort. I decided to add mini chocolate chips to the batter and I’m really glad that I did. The coffee and chocolate combination is really good. Despite containing instant espresso powder and coffee, I didn’t think that the coffee flavor was too strong. Sure, you could certainly taste it, but I was worried it would be too much. I did taste the muffins a day after I had baked them, so maybe that made a difference.
These muffins contain quite a bit of liquid (coffee, egg, melted butter) which results in a deliciously moist muffin. My husband said that when he picked them up they were heavier than expected. That was true, but the muffins themselves didn’t taste heavy. They were light with a great texture. I really enjoyed these, and I think they would act as a blank canvas for any sort of add in that you’d want to try.
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 15.
Friday, September 17, 2010
So after vacation, it’s back to work and back to school for me! Classes don’t start until Monday, but all of us college employees are back on campus, getting ready for the crazy rush of students that will be here next week. For me this week has been meeting after meeting, which is so hard after being off for so long. I’m actually looking forward to the start of school so that I can get back into the swing of things.
At least the campus provides lunch for us during all of these days of meetings. Our cafeteria doesn’t offer the best fare, but it’s nice to be able to sit down and chat with colleagues. The dessert is usually pretty good, so there’s always that to look forward to! The campus does a standard selection of cookies, including a M&M cookie that is my coworker’s favorite. The ones that the campus makes are more of a sugar cookie with M&Ms on top, but I used those for my inspiration.
This cookie is more of a take on the chocolate chip cookie, but still good none the less. The dough is exceedingly light and must be chilled before baking. The original recipe warns you that they spread so don’t put them too close together on the baking sheet, but I didn’t have that problem at all. They are nice and crispy, and especially good while still warm from the oven. These are quite different from the ones made on campus, but I’m sure my coworkers won’t mind.
½ cup unsalted butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
3/4 cup sugar
1/2 cup packed brown sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla
1 large egg
1 3/4 cups flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3/4 cups plain M&Ms
1/3 cup chocolate chips
Combine the butter and shortening in large mixer bowl; beat until creamy. Add both sugars and continue beating on high for two minutes, scraping bowl. Beat in the vanilla and egg. Continue beating for another minute or until fluffy.
In a small bowl, stir together the flour, salt and baking soda. Add to the sugar mixture and stir until mixed. Stir in the M&Ms and chocolate chip by hand. Chill for about an hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line two cookie sheets with silicone baking mats.
Drop dough by rounded teaspoonfuls onto cookie sheets, spacing 3 inches apart. Bake for 12-14 minutes. Let cool on cookie sheets for about 2 minutes, then transfer to wire rack to cool.
Recipe from Document Life Now: Miss Kim Designs
Tuesday, September 14, 2010
This week’s Tuesdays with Dorie recipe was selected by Sabrina of Superfluous. She chose the Cranberry Upside-Downer , which is an upside down cake with cranberry topping. This has a great picture in the cookbook, and I know that this is a recipe that I’ve looked at many times. I was really excited to hear that this recipe had been picked. I was a little worried about finding cranberries in early September, but I was bound and determined to find them. I really wanted to make this with cranberries, not some other variation. You can get the complete recipe for this cake on Sabrina’s blog and you can also visit the Tuesdays with Dorie site to see how other bakers interpreted this recipe.
I’ve actually been on vacation for the past three weeks, and this is the first thing that I made once I got home. The weather is definitely feeling like fall, and this is a great all recipe. I had to go to a couple of stores to find cranberries, but I did find some at the local co-op. They were frozen, but I usually work with frozen cranberries anyway. I had bought some last fall to have in the freezer, but our refrigerator/freezer decided to quit working this spring so we had to throw everything out. I will make sure I stock up once cranberries arrive in the store, but I was glad that I was able to find frozen ones.
I thought that this was a very impressive cake for how easy it was to make. You melt sugar and butter and put it in the bottom of the pan and add the cranberries and nuts (I used almonds). The cake batter has a wonderful cinnamon flavor, which was a nice addition to the cranberries. We had the cake still warm from the oven, which was so good. The cake had wonderful texture, nice and moist. The cranberry topping is tart, but I love that! I bake a lot with cranberries around the holidays and this cake would be perfect for Thanksgiving. Since pumpkin pie isn’t that popular with my family, I just may make this again for Thanksgiving!
Recipe from Baking from My Home to Yours by Dorie Greenspan, page 206
Friday, September 10, 2010
So this is the last week before I head back to work full time, time to get ready for fall quarter and a new batch of students! I suppose that many students dread going back to school, but I loved this time of year when I was a kid. I liked school and felt like I was in my proper place once school started. I guess it’s no surprise that I work in an educational setting. I like working with students, even though they are sometimes very stressed out. As much as it’s nice to have more time in the summer, I look forward to getting back into the swing of things at work.
Wanting to use more of the great cinnamon that my friend gave me and also wanting to make a cookie with the flavors of fall, my husband went on the look for recipes and he found this one. It’s really perfect! I love using apples in desserts, but it’s more unusual to find them used in cookies. This recipe had apples, oats, dried cranberries, white chocolate and nuts. There are more bits than batter in these cookies, but they are wonderful.
I was a little worried when I was making these about whether they would hold together while baking. There really was so little batter that I didn’t know how they would turn out. I shouldn’t have worried! Some of the cookies were chunky and some less so, but they taste great. All the flavors of fall combined in a little cookie. Because of the apple and the dried cranberry, the cookies are quite soft and get softer as they age. If you’re looking for the perfect fall cookie, this is a contender!
½ cup butter, softened
¾ cup sugar
1 cup flour
1 teaspoon baking powder
1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
½ teaspoon salt
½ teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 cup rolled oats
1 cup diced peeled apple
1 cup chopped walnuts or pecans
1 cup dried cranberries
1 cup white chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line baking sheets with silicone baking mats.
In a large mixer bowl, cream butter and sugar. Beat in eggs until well blended. In a separate small bowl, combine flour, baking powder, cinnamon, nutmeg, and salt; stir into sugar mixture until well blended.
Fold in the oats, apples, nuts, cranberries, and white chocolate chips. Drop dough by teaspoonfuls onto ungreased cookie sheets. Bake for 12-15 minutes. Allow to cool slightly on the baking sheets before removing to wire racks to cool completely.
Recipe from Best of LA
Tuesday, September 7, 2010
Greetings from England! The photo above is Bath Abbey, from our last visit there. We're currently visiting many spots in England! I don't have this week's Tuesdays with Dorie recipe because I have been on vacation and the recipe hadn't yet been posted before I left. This week's recipe was picked by Jasmine of Jasmine Cuisine and she selected Peanut Butter Crisscrosses. I've made these before, using Nutella instead of peanut butter and they were wonderful. In the meantime, here's another recipe.
One weekend my husband and I were at the local mall and we noticed that Cinnamon carried some good looking cupcakes. Later that evening my husband instant messaged me this recipe, which is a replica of what they sell at Cinnabon. I like cupcakes and I like cinnamon, so I thought I would give them a try. Now I’ve never actually eaten the original, so I’m no judge of their authenticity, but I figured they would be really tasty no matter what.
The cupcake recipe is pretty basic, with the addition of a cinnamon sugar streusel that you add to the cakes before baking. You sprinkle it on top but it immediately sinks to the bottom and for me, it was sometimes stuck to the bottom of the cupcake liner. The cinnamon flavor was nice and the texture of the cake was good, too. The original recipe said to bake the cupcakes for 10-12 minutes, but I baked mine closer to 20-22 minutes for them to test done.
I did have a bit of a problem with the frosting. The ingredients are what you expect in cream cheese frosting, but the original recipe has you beat the frosting for 12 minutes to make it light and fluffy. I did that and just let the mixer run while I did some other things. When the timer when off, I checked on the frosting and it was very runny, way too runny to frost cupcakes with! I ended up having to add several cups of powdered sugar to get the frosting to a workable consistency. The frosting was good, although a bit sweet with all the extra sugar! These were so good and I have no idea if they are authentic or not, but they were still very yummy.
4 tablespoons sugar
3 teaspoons cinnamon
2 tablespoons butter, softened
1-1/2 sticks butter, softened
1-1/2 cups sugar
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 cup cake flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/4 teaspoon salt
3 eggs & 1 egg white
3/4 cup milk
2 teaspoons vanilla
Mix with sugar, cinnamon, and butter with a fork until you make a crumby, coarse mixture. Set aside.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Line 24 muffin cups with paper liners.
In a large mixer bowl, beat the butter and sugar together on medium speed until light and fluffy. While that's beating, combine the dry ingredients in a small bowl. In another bowl combine eggs, milk, and vanilla. Mix with a fork.
Beating on slow, add 1/3 of the flour mixture to the butter/sugar. Add 1/2 the wet ingredient mixture. Alternate until all of the ingredients are incorporated. Do not over mix.
Fill the cupcake liners 2/3 full with batter. Sprinkle cinnamon mixture on top of the batter. It will sink in during baking. Bake for about 20 minutes. Cool completely before frosting.
8oz. package of cream cheese-room temperature
1 stick butter, softened
4 cups powdered sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla
1/2 teaspoon lemon juice
1 tablespoon milk
Beat the cream cheese and butter together until thoroughly mixed. Add sugar one cup at a time. Mix well after each cup. Add the vanilla, lemon juice, and milk and beat until smooth. Frost cooled cupcakes and sprinkle a little cinnamon on top.
Recipe from Bread, W(h)ine, and Cheez
Friday, September 3, 2010
My husband always requests chocolate chip cookies, but I usually want to try something more exciting. On the other hand, sometimes I just want to make something that is easy and that I have all the ingredients. This recipe is the perfect mix of the two. It’s basically a chocolate chip cookie, but it’s also shortbread, which is just a little bit different. Shortbread is very easy to make, but I haven’t made it too many times. I should really try making more shortbread.
This recipe uses mini chocolate chips, and that fits these cookies best. They’re quite thin and big chocolate chips would be overpowering. The recipe specifies that you bake the cookie in 8-inch round pans, which is what I did. That allows you to have neat looking triangles of shortbread. If you don’t have the right size pan, you could substitute another pan. The recipe isn’t that picky and if your dough is thinner or thicker you would just need to adjust the baking time.
Cutting them was a bit odd, I wasn’t sure about scoring them, afraid that I would cut too much. I shouldn’t have worried since these cookies were so forgiving. I scored them and then when they were cool they broke into perfect wedges. I don’t know what is so special about shortbread, but these still were fresh for a long time. Cookies don’t normally last that long at home, but I didn’t have anywhere to take them so there were still a few left after a week. There were still wonderful with a cup of tea.
½ cup butter, softened
½ cup sugar
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup flour
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup mini chocolate chip cookies
Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Beat butter and sugar in a large bowl until light and fluffy. Beat in the vanilla. Add flour and salt, beat until well combined. Stir in the chocolate chips. Divide the dough in half.
Press each half of dough into ungreased 8-inch round cake pan. Bake 12 minutes or until the edges are light brown. Score the shortbread with a knife, taking care not to cut completely through, into 8 wedges per pan. Let the pans stand on a wire rack for 10 minutes. Invert the shortbread onto wire racks; cool completely. Break into wedges when completely cool.
Recipe from Favorite Brand Name Cookie Collection